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Rethinking the History of Peptic Ulcer Disease and its Relevance for Network Epistemology

Radomski, Bartosz and Šešelja, Dunja and Kim, Naumann (2021) Rethinking the History of Peptic Ulcer Disease and its Relevance for Network Epistemology. History and Philosophy of the Life Sciences.

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Abstract

The history of the research on peptic ulcer disease (PUD) is characterized by a premature abandonment of the bacterial hypothesis, which subsequently had its comeback, leading to the discovery of Helicobacter pylori – the major cause of the disease. In this paper we examine the received view on this case, according to which the primary reason for the abandonment of the bacterial hypothesis in the mid-twentieth century was a large-scale study by a prominent gastroenterologist Palmer, which suggested no bacteria could be found in the human stomach. To this end, we employ the methodof digital textual analysis and study the literature on the etiology of PUD published in the decade prior to Palmer’s article. Our findings suggest that the bacterial hypothesis had already been abandoned before the publication of Palmer’s paper, which challenges the widely held view that his study played a crucial role in the development of this episode. In view of this result, we argue that the PUD case does not illustrate harmful effects of a high degree of information flow, as it has frequently been claimed in the literature on network epistemology. Moreover, we argue that alternative examples of harmful effects of a high degree of information flow may be hard to find in the history of science.


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Item Type: Published Article or Volume
Creators:
CreatorsEmailORCID
Radomski, Bartosz0000-0003-4107-2425
Šešelja, Dunjad.seselja@tue.nl0000-0001-5679-5787
Kim, Naumann
Additional Information: accepted for publication
Keywords: peptic ulcer disease, Eddy Palmer, digital textual analysis, network epistemology
Subjects: Specific Sciences > Medicine > Health and Disease
General Issues > History of Science Case Studies
General Issues > Social Epistemology of Science
General Issues > Theory Change
Depositing User: Dr. Dunja Šešelja
Date Deposited: 18 Sep 2021 04:28
Last Modified: 18 Sep 2021 04:28
Item ID: 19581
Journal or Publication Title: History and Philosophy of the Life Sciences
Subjects: Specific Sciences > Medicine > Health and Disease
General Issues > History of Science Case Studies
General Issues > Social Epistemology of Science
General Issues > Theory Change
Date: 2021
URI: https://philsci-archive-dev.library.pitt.edu/id/eprint/19581

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